It seems like a day doesn’t go by that either Kevin Hart or Melissa McCarthy aren’t showcasing their comedic abilities in a new film. McCarthy’s follow-up to Spy is this over-the-top portrayal of a power-hungry industry titan who brings her special marketing skills to the Girl Scout cookie industry in the comedy, The Boss.
After a high-energy opening where Michelle Darnell (McCarthy) sends her message that all she does is win, we are treated to a non-descript backstory of a young girl dumped by one foster family after another, and grows up with the credo that “family is for suckers.” She instead turns her gaze inwardly and uses that as fuel, but at what cost? Darnell has become a narcissistic, self-centered, me-first jerk to everyone, including her inner circle, an ass-kissing, yes-man, Tito (Cedric Yarbrough) and an underappreciated assistant, Claire (Kristen Bell).
But after double-crossing her rival, and former lover, Renault (Peter Dinklage), Darnell is imprisoned for insider trading. Predictably her life falls apart, she loses everything and ends up on the doorstep of Claire, who abandoned her to take a job she can’t stand to provide for her teenage daughter, Rachel (Ella Anderson). After several weeks of sitting around and feeling sorry for herself, Darnell discovers a way to get back in the game after sitting through a lifeless girl scout meeting.
Armed with Claire’s tasty brownies and her superb marketing skills, Darnell sets out to dominate the cookie market with “Darnell’s Darlings,” and that’s the when the REAL fun begins. Co-written by her husband/director Ben Falcone and McCarthy, the two try to capitalize on her skills as a physical comedian with plenty of pratfalls and plenty of crude, vile jokes, some that hit and others that miss the mark.
Unlike her most recent film, Spy, where she had others that could share the comedy spotlight, McCarthy is a one-woman comedic force of nature and it feels like she needs to fill up the screen with something or in her or husband’s mind, silence is a bad thing. They say sometimes less is more and there are some scenes that certainly could have benefitted from that credo.
The script also leaves a lot to be desired, reading like an extended SNL sketch that relies on McCarthy to breathe life into it, almost singlehandedly. Sure there are some funny moments but not enough to justify the faith audiences have in the talented comedian. It is true that all McCarthy does is win . . . with her bank account but this film is another example of with great power comes great responsibility and The Boss is severely lacking.
Both Bruce Springsteen and Diana Ross have earned the right to the title while McCarthy is just a novice wannabe who has a long way to go before we make her “The Boss” of ANYTHING!!!